The Social Action Office of the Diocese of Cleveland seeks to shape a more caring society and a more peaceful world through justice education, advocacy, community development and organizing. Our work is based on the call of the Gospel to work for the respect and dignity of all human life, the elimination of poverty, to speak out against injustice, and to promote the common good.
From a Gospel context, our goal is to work in creating a culture of life and dignity. We work to promote justice by advocating for the necessary changes through the empowerment of people and the monitoring of public and private systems. We are called to work in collaboration with the Ordinary of the diocese of Cleveland and the Secretary of Social Concerns.
The office is composed of County-based social action offices, and office for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services which includes the Council on Global Solidarity.
In 1969, under the direction of Bishop Clarence G. Issenman, Bishop of Cleveland, Auxiliary Bishop William Cosgrove established the Commission on Catholic Community Action (CCCA). The Commission was comprised of lay, religious and clergy served as the official social action arm of the Diocese of Cleveland. The CCCA was charged to provide education/ formation, organizing and advocacy in the areas of poverty, peace and race. The scope of the Commission was best summarized, as follows: Out of a Gospel context, to promote peace, social justice, and the common good by engaging the Catholic community and others of good will in actions that result in social change. Since its inception, social action ministry in the Diocese has been guided by the Holy Scriptures, encyclicals of the Holy Fathers, Catholic Social Teaching, pastoral statements of the U.S. Bishops, the Ordinary and the Ohio Bishops. In addition, there has been a longstanding history of working cooperatively and effectively with Ecumenical and Interfaith leaders and structures.
Current Accomplishments (2008) – a sampling…
~ The Diocesan Social Action Office (DSAO) actively supported the priorities of the USCCB, Catholic Conference of Ohio, and Catholic Charities USA.
~ Chaired the 246 member Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending. This coalition was successful in the passage of H.B. 545 (payday lending reform).
~ Implementation of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
~ Our annual Lenten Series, organized by the Council on Global Solidarity, focused on the theme of “Human Rights and Children.”
~ “Day of Prayer, Education, Solidarity and Action” for the suffering people of Darfur.
~ In a collaboration with St. Noel Parish, the DSAO co-sponsored four, regional forums on health care.
~ Facilitates and sponsors Parish Network meetings in which parishioners involved as leaders of social concerns groups gather for timely briefings and training.
~ Instrumental in guiding the work of Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice (CSPJ).
~ One of the top priorities of our Council on Global Solidarity has been the “Water for Life” Project.
~ CCHD sponsored two major gatherings this year, the award’s luncheon and the networking luncheon. Approximately 135 persons made one or both of these events.
1. Advocacy of FOCA and Embryonic Stem Cells
2. Advocacy on the State Budget
3. Implementation of the legislative priorities of the USCCB, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Conference of Ohio
4. The Ongoing Support to Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice.
1. Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
2. The Ongoing Priorities of the Council on Global Solidarity, CCHD and CRS.
3. Advocacy Regarding the Genocide in Darfur.
4. Support for USCCB Policy on a Responsible Transition in Iraq.
5. Development of the Future Legislative Priorities of the Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending.
The Diocesan Social Action through the 5 Catholic Commissions working within the eight counties of the Diocese of Cleveland seeks to shape a more caring society and a more peaceful world through justice education, advocacy, community development and organizing. Our work is based on the call of the Gospel to work for the respect and dignity of all human life, the elimination of poverty, to speak out against injustice, and to promote the common good.